FCC Commish Says US Should Ban TikTok on National Security Grounds

A member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), following an update from the Federal Communications Commission, is calling for that the U.S. government to ban TikTok, which is a massively popular social media site with Chinese Communist Party connections.

Released on Axios on Tuesday, the latest interview with Brendan Carr features “the strongest language Carr has used to date to urge action on TikTok.”

The Council on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) should take action to ban TikTok, Brendan Carr, one of five commissioners at the Federal Communications Commission, told Axios in an interview.

“I don’t believe there is a path forward for anything other than a ban,” Carr said, citing recent revelations about how TikTok and ByteDance handle U.S. user data.

The comments are made as the company seeks an agreement with U.S./CFIUS regarding how it manages data and whether it is still a possibility that the data held by the company may be transferred into the CCP's hands.

TikTok is currently in negotiations with CFIUS, an interagency committee that conducts national security reviews of foreign companies’ deals, to determine whether it can be divested by Chinese parent company ByteDance to an American company and remain operational in the United States.

With more than 200 million downloads in the U.S. alone, the popular app is becoming a form of critical information infrastructure — making the app’s ownership by [ByteDance] a target of growing national security concern.

Carr continues:

There simply isn’t “a world in which you could come up with sufficient protection on the data that you could have sufficient confidence that it’s not finding its way back into the hands of the [Chinese Communist Party],” Carr said.

Axios reported that Carr has raised warnings in the past about the company, even asking Apple and Google to not offer the app to download through their App Store and Google Play sites.

It's not clear how talks with CFIUS and TikTok will go, but the good news of people urging action is balanced by the reality of the present:

The FCC has no authority to regulate TikTok directly, but Congress previously acted after Carr voiced concerns about Chinese telecom companies, including Huawei.

In August 2020, then-President Donald Trump and his administration wanted to prohibit TikTok and also highlighted the possibility of the CCP getting information about sensitive U.S. data, when Microsoft declared that it was in talks to buy the platform.

“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One.

The administration eventually had to concede to Microsoft's desire to continue by negotiating with ByteDance, however Microsoft didn’t complete the deal. Oracle was involved in possible acquisition of TikTok, however that deal also did not happen.

All of this is another reason to hope that Republicans will be able to take back control of Congress during the midterm elections. Then this matter of an unreliable connection in our security system can finally be dealt with.

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